Speaking of James Lileks, in his weekly syndicated Newhouse column, James puts the Blogosphere’s fevered talk of the rapidly approaching demise of newspapers into context:
Newspapers are dead, the experts assure us. Pity, but these things happen. Media rise and fall. People move on. Why, once upon a time, millions of Americans got their news and opinions by listening to the AM band of the radio. AM radio! Really.
Who could imagine such a thing today?
He does have several suggestions on how to resuscitate a press that’s watched newer and faster media blow past it, though:
it’s not a fatal spiral. Not if newspapers go local. Unfortunately, most papers still see themselves as the Trusted Guardians of the Global Yesterday, serving up a cold meal of worldwide news to people who’ve already read the updates on the Web. This is a mistake. Leave the big picture to The New York Times and the Washington Post and the networks. Get small. Only newspapers have the resources to cover their hometowns. Yes, newspaper readers want to know about the world. But they also want crime and restaurant reviews and cute spelling bee winners and dog photos and anti-pothole crusades.
Also, stop chasing the younger market. They do not care what your reviewer thinks of “Doom the Movie.” They played the game AND blew through the expansion pack AND downloaded a bootleg of the film on BitTorrent. Trying to court this demographic makes newspapers look like Grandpa doing the Funky Chicken, and it hurts.
Think any major papers will take his advice?
Actually, I doubt he does, either.